by Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Specialized screening to detect a heart problem could be as simple as pulling out your phone.  3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl explains.

Monitoring heart patients is getting a whole lot easier thanks to a new tool and a special app.   It’s allowing doctors to get an inside look at patients near and far away.

Checking your heart, at your fingertips.  It’s an instant electrocardiogram, ECG or EKG for short, that happens with the help of your smart phone.

“You hold it for literally five seconds and then suddenly your ECG shows up,” said Dr. Prospero Gogo, a Cardiologist.

It’s called the AliveCor Heart Monitor.  The FDA cleared device is a light weight phone case with two metal plates on the back.  With the use of a special free app, patients hold the phone and the device quickly measures electrical impulses of the heart, as well as heart rate.  The information is downloaded to your phone’s memory and sent to a secure website, to share results with your doctor.

Dr. Gogo uses it to quickly assess patients who he thinks may be having a problem in the office.

“I just pull this out of my pocket, have them hold it for a few seconds and I can see what their heart rhythm is,” said Dr. Gogo.

It measures just one view, from one arm to the other, so if there is a problem Dr. Gogo will do a complete ECG screening, with the traditional 12 leads.

“This isn’t the answer to everything.  It’s one of the useful tools you can use when you look at the patient, feel their pulses,” said Dr. Gogo.

The monitor needs to be prescribed by a doctor.  It costs about 200 dollars, and is not yet covered by insurance.

It’s expected to soon be compatible with the iPhone 5.

Link:  AliveCor Heart Monitor Information

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